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Eat & Drink

The top 10 Chinese restaurants in Scarborough

Posted by Darren "DKLo" Susilo / March 15, 2014

Chinese restaurants ScarboroughThe top Chinese restaurants in Scarborough are, by all accounts, extremely subjective. I know that seems like an obvious statement, but such is the cultural mosaic of this oft-maligned part of the GTA that each end of the Chinese cuisine spectrum can be found here. Some would even argue that the area's Chinese culinary diversity surpasses even northern heavyweights like Markham and Richmond Hill.

Here are my picks for the top Chinese restaurants in Scarborough.

Maple Yip
The menu items are so diverse, you'll get you a headache. The decorations are tacky and dated, while the atmosphere is more hectic than a Hong Kong intersection during rush hour (sans Jackie Chan). Yet everyone, time and time again, keeps on returning here for classic Cantonese Chinese cuisine. The wintermelon soup is a great and refreshing way to start your meal, and you simply have to order the beef and broccoli in fried taro nest. Their lobster is also great value.

Asian Legend
There are many Asian Legend locations, but the best one in my books so far (as seen here) is the large flagship location at Brimley and Sheppard. With high ceilings, service that's friendly and quick, and the usual high quality of food synonymous with this Chinese restaurant chain, this location is definitely the one to go to. You can even book one of several sleek-looking private rooms if you have a larger group. Don't forget their excellent Peking Duck, along with the super juicy beef and green onion roll. You can even BYOB for a $10 charge.

Chiu Chow Boy
Chiu Chow Boy is a giant in the Chiu Chow Chinese cuisine scene. Its simple and modest exterior (with an equally utilitarian interior) belies the excellent food and speedy service. The braised tofu with duck is definitely a must-try, and their taro-fried rice is excellent. Just be prepared for heavy foot traffic during mealtimes, along with the loud noises of chatter and utensils clinking against each other, as is customary among popular old-school Chinese restaurants.

Royal Chinese Seafood
While many die-hard purists prefer to frequent establishments like Federick's or Kimling, for my money, this modest restaurant is the best Indian-style Hakka Chinese food. Start with the ridiculously crispy fried shrimp balls (the restaurant's specialty appetizer) and continue to the Manchurian fish or Royal pepper chicken. Add an order of their spicy masala-fried rice, and you're getting close to perfection.

Gourmet Malaysia
Gourmet Malaysia is the place to go if you like your Chinese food with a Southeast Asian twist. This large restaurant, located right beside the Asian Legend mentioned above, serves up Singaporean and Malaysian style Chinese food. The Malaysian yellow fried noodles are a must-try, as is their fried squid with garlic salt (the best in town). For those who like it spicy, have a go at their laksa, and cool off with a nice creamy teh tarik.

Bashu Renjia Sichuan
Now this one is for the real die-hard spicy Szechuan Chinese food lovers. Frequented by many people from the actual Szechuan region, this is tongue-numbing yet delicious Chinese food at its finest. The shui zhu yu (spicy fish soup) is one of the best in town, and the spicy chicken (the name says it all) is also wonderfully tasty. Take note that the spiciness in the food here covers up neither the freshness nor the delicious taste of the meats and vegetables themselves. And that, for me, is the true sign of properly cooking spicy dishes. They also have a location in Mississauga.

Fishman Lobster Clubhouse
You need two things when you come to this restaurant: an empty stomach and a camera. The huge 8 or 9-pound lobsters that this place serves up are simply unbelievable mountains of beauty to behold. The deep fried garlic ones are my favourite, as the fragrance and crispness of the dish really shines through (while I throw away any expectation of this dish being good for me or my waistline). And at $16.99 per pound, you really can't go wrong.

Casa Imperial
If you've ever had a childhood dream to sample Chinese food served by attendants in European-housekeeper uniforms inside a Victorian mansion (hey, I'm not judging) then you should drop everything you're doing right now and head over to the Casa. The surefire hit here is the dim sum offerings which are all made in-house and fresh to order (case in point: one of the biggest hargow dumplings I've seen in the GTA), while your friends will be whipping out their smartphones to take a picture of the many chandeliers hanging around the place. Entertainment for all!

The only true takeout joint on this list, it may also be the cheapest one. It has a barren interior and no-frills service but people will line up just to chow down on the succulent meats available here. For $5.50, you can get the mixed meat plate which contains roast pork and roast duck. Coupled with the simplicity of steamed rice, it's pure deliciousness on a budget. Cash only.

Mr. Congee
While fans (if you can call them that) of the forlorn-looking Bridlewood Mall wait anxiously to learn what new retailer will replace Zellers and breathe new life into the mall, Mr. Congee is quietly doing so all by him (it?) self. Featuring loads of congee offerings like my favourite scallop and shrimp congee, this wonderfully chaotic restaurant also boasts a large array of seafood dishes along with weekly specials.

Posted by Darren "DKLo" Susilo. He hangs out on the twitter and his own mansion. Photo via Maple Yip.



Rob / March 15, 2014 at 12:22 pm
I like the coverage, but I think Scarborough should have been referred to as an oft-maligned part of Toronto. Saying that Scarborough is part of the GTA is true, but furthers the misconception that Scarborough is outside of Toronto.
Jim / March 15, 2014 at 01:02 pm
Whoa...did BlogTO just post something out of the downtown core??!! Nice article & THANKS for mentioning Scarborough
Foodenthusiast / March 15, 2014 at 01:46 pm
I have been to Asian Legend on Sheppard and the food was really greasy and the service was quite bad. I found that the high price was too much for fare that was pretty much equivalent to what you'd find in a food court.

Gourmet Malaysia is fantastic, I would totally recommend it.

Other good ones: Vietnam Noodle Star at Midland and Finch, Dragon Dynasty at Brimley and Huntingwood for Dim Sum. Ginger and Onion at the Pacific Mall also does dim sum, it is cheaper but not quite as good as Dragon's.
cmliu / March 15, 2014 at 02:58 pm
I have been to Bashu Renjia Sichuan and Fishman Lobster Clubhouse. These are my favourite places to go to in Scarborough for authentic Chinese food.
However, being Chinese myself, I don't see why Malaysian restaurant should be recommended in a blog post about top Chinese restaurants in Scarborough. There are so many more other undiscovered good Chinese food places in Scarborough that people don't know about. I think people have misconception about what real authentic Chinese food means. It's not pad thai, curry, or sweet and sour pork.
In a drunken stupor / March 15, 2014 at 04:13 pm
Bing bong Ching chong me likely chinese food. Actually I like all food as, long as it's served in massive quantities.smoking crack is a lot like eating chinese food...an hour after, you immediately want more. Anyone know where I can score some good crack?
DKLo replying to a comment from cmliu / March 16, 2014 at 10:50 am
Interesting point. But what IS authentic Chinese food? The Singaporean and Malaysian Chinese people, who absolutely dominate the region, would argue that their food is also authentic. I believe that, since Chinese people are everywhere around the world, their style of cooking evolves to adapt to where they are. But it doesn't reduce the authenticity, as it IS still Chinese food. Hence the beauty of Chinese cuisine.
James Yap / March 16, 2014 at 03:17 pm
Not bad. You can tell the author's being politically correct in terms of diversity. His name looks Indonesian Chinese and he's probably trying to make the point that there's more to Chinese food than straight Cantonese/Sichuan. Fine, that's fair enough. But Royal Chinese and Gourmet Malaysia clearly don't belong on this list. Any Chinese food expert will tell you Indian-style Chinese food (which is a different thing from Hakka food, by the way), while certainly interesting for the fact it exists, isn't any better in terms of quality than American-style Chinese food like the Mandarin. To be honest, I'd actually rather go to the Mandarin (which I don't mind once in a while) myself. As for Gourmet Malaysia, I'd agree it would've had a place on this list five years ago, but now it clearly doesn't. One2 Snacks maybe, if you must include a Malaysian place. But maybe that's just a matter of taste. Overall a good list. Much better than the other Chinese restaurant list on this site, which is just awful.
DKLo replying to a comment from James Yap / March 16, 2014 at 08:07 pm
Astute observations sir. And I wasn't trying to be politically correct or anything. The list is just a personal list of what I honestly feel is the top ten. I do appreciate you pointing our that Hakka is NOT synonymous with Indian Chinese food. I usually always add the prefix Indian Chinese before using the term "Hakka". It's something I've been trying to tell many people. Only in Toronto does Hakka = Indian Chinese food. It's a misnomer.
Jim replying to a comment from DKLo / March 17, 2014 at 03:41 pm
That's not true. The term hakka is used in India as a synonym for Chinese food in general, though there's the understanding that what is found in India is not the authentic actual Hakka style found in China. That's why the two ideas have become conflated.
DKLo replying to a comment from Jim / March 18, 2014 at 05:38 pm
I stand corrected :)
EJ / April 25, 2015 at 11:14 am
Spicy Dragon @ Kennedy/Lawrence
Syn / November 8, 2015 at 08:35 am
I know there are a lot of candidates, but you can't omit Swatow! At Dundas and Spadina it's been a Toronto landmark for decades and they make the best Chinese food I've had in this whole city!
LulaB / November 8, 2015 at 10:38 am
Noodle Delight on Victoria Park (south of Sheppard) has been my favourite since I was a kid. I live in the west end now and detour off the 401 whenever I am driving through Scarborough.
von shizer / March 13, 2016 at 11:52 am
How is Lucky's not on this list?
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